Can I go to the steam sauna during pregnancy?

Taking a sauna is a healthy, relaxing and beneficial activity – even during pregnancy. However, it is important that pregnant women follow a few rules of conduct.
Is steam sauna allowed during pregnancy?

Is steam sauna allowed during pregnancy?

A visit to the steam sauna, especially in the winter seasons, is a treat for both men and women. However, at the latest when they are told: “Congratulations, you are pregnant”, pregnant women have to ask themselves many questions. One of them is whether a woman is allowed to go to the steam sauna during pregnancy. While some give the all-clear, others advise against it because of health risks.

What happens to the body in the steam sauna?

Exposure to hot steam raises a pregnant woman’s body temperature. To cool down, vessels near the surface of the skin dilate or stretch to remove excess body heat from sweating. The heart works harder to pump blood to the skin surface faster, which can quickly lead to dehydration and overheating. High heat from a steam bath can put extreme stress on the mother’s heart and circulation. And this is at a time when the cardiovascular system already has to work hard. A pregnant woman with undiagnosed heart disease could quickly find herself in trouble.

American study on “pregnancy and steam sauna”

A 1992 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that pregnant women exposed to steam heat during their first trimester risk serious brain and spinal abnormalities in the baby. This is due to the increase in body temperature of the mother and embryo. Basically, it shows that a temperature of 35 °C (95 °F) should not be exceeded in wellness treatments. Thus, a steam bath, which is normally above this value, is not recommended for a woman in the first trimester.

Listen to your body

If there is still a strong desire to go to the steam room, there are ways to make it a safe visit. A pregnant woman’s internal body temperature does not rise to a dangerous range within a few minutes. Therefore, depending on the woman’s physical condition, a time of up to 20 minutes can be spent in the steam sauna.

At the same time, the sauna room must be left at the slightest change in well-being. Possible warning signs are strong thirst, dizziness and sweating. Basically, a pregnant woman should be careful not to sweat too much. This is a sign of increased body temperature.

How to avoid circulatory problems

Further, large time intervals can be observed between sauna sessions. For example, the steam sauna can be used for ten minutes, followed by an hour of rest. During this time, the expectant mother should cool down slowly, drink plenty of fluids and fortify herself. Rapid changes from hot to cold should also be avoided, as they strain the circulation. It is better to cool with lukewarm water after a steam treatment than with ice-cold water.

Divided opinions from experts

After the first trimester, recommendations for pregnant women are murky. While some completely advise against steam saunas, others consider them harmless. In various studies, at least, it has been shown that women did not increase their internal body temperature to alarming levels even by exercising heavily or taking long saunas. This suggests that the pregnant body is well able to maintain a constant body temperature, so there is no danger to either mother or child.

To be on the safe side, the aforementioned tips can be followed here as well. Do not stay too long in the steam sauna and listen to your own body. To be on the safe side, you should talk to a competent doctor about this issue. This person can provide accurate information and say whether a visit to the steam sauna is recommended for you individually or not.


In summary, it appears that women in the first trimester should be especially careful when going to the steam sauna. In the advanced stages of pregnancy, the risk is lower. In both cases, pregnant women should listen to their bodies and discuss the issue with their attending physician. Only the latter can say whether a visit to the steam sauna is suitable for the individual.


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